Friday, January 2, 2009

scam watch

Since putting myself out there as a photographer and as a model I've been running into increasing numbers of scams and just general shady people. There's one in particular that I want to bring to light, so I'm writing this in hopes that in the future when people google search the "company" this entry will come up.

A month or so ago someone I know tipped me off to a listing on craigs list looking for fashion photographers in the portland area. I responded saying I was interested, and heard back from someone with the email telling me they liked my work and asking if I would be availbe that tuesday or wednesday. I emailed back say I should be, just need to know the location and time of the shoot. I googled the company "fpi4models" (fashion photography international 4 models) and got one hit back from a model wondering if they were for real, as well as their website.
So I went on their website... they're "efolio" is full of work that I'm quite sure is stolen. It's poorly laid out, the copyright notices on the images are partially cut-off, they have no contact info. To top it off the address at the bottom of the website says they're based in New York, but when I did a look-up for their domain it's registered to someone in North Carolina. WTF? domain information for
created: 26-Aug-2008
last-changed: 26-Aug-2008
registration-expiration: 26-Aug-2009



registrant-firstname: Clifton
registrant-lastname: Roberts
registrant-organization: Fashion Photography International
registrant-street1: 534 William Hooper Cir
registrant-pcode: 27278
registrant-state: NC
registrant-city: Hillsborough
registrant-ccode: US
registrant-phone: +1.9192593935

Basically this what I think happens. They find hotographers to "hire"... then they put out castings for models. The models reply to the castings and are told "we like your look but you need a better portfolio, here is a list of photographers to contact. Get a quote from them and we'll pay for half"
So the models are given a list of photographers to contact. Model pays anywhere from $100 to $1300 to "build their portfolio". Now, fpi4models is paying half this bill, but I think in reality they're just having that money funneled back into their pocket through the photographers that they rope into this. Then the model ends up with a shitty portfolio, and never hears from this place again.

I never heard back from them, but just tonight got an email from about some FABULOUS new way to make money with your photos. I googled and to my complete unsuprise their website has the same content as domain information for
Domain Name..........
Creation Date........ 2008-12-18
Registration Date.... 2008-12-18
Expiry Date.......... 2009-12-18
Organisation Name.... Lycos, Inc.
Organisation Address. 2421 Clay St SPC 23
Organisation Address.
Organisation Address. Sacramento
Organisation Address. 95815
Organisation Address. CA
Organisation Address. UNITED STATES

Admin Name........... Clifton Roberts
Admin Address........ 2421 Clay St SPC 23
Admin Address........
Admin Address........ Sacramento
Admin Address........ 95815
Admin Address........ CA
Admin Address........ UNITED STATES
Admin Email..........
Admin Phone.......... 347-767-3302
Admin Fax............ +1.7814667060

You'll notice that both websites are owned by a man named Clifton Roberts. He also appears to be connected to, a website which also produces hits on google of models wondering if it's a scam agency. Whois look-up of that website shows it's registered by someone named Murvin Headen, but is also located out of North Carolina.

So, if you're contacted by any of these agencies or see them listing castings, my advice would be to stay away! From the shadiness of this whole mess I'd say it's not worth your time.


Corey Templeton said...

I've seen these ads on craigslist also. Nice in-depth 'dateline NBC' style scam spotting! Hopefully someone can take this guy down.

Brother Rolf said...

I believe I made the horrendous mistake of choosing a company because it had a 5 page ad in a popular computer magazine. In my opinion 1and1, with CEO Oliver Mauss, is a horrible company and many customers have voiced a host of complaints on various blogs. It should be a warning that when their phone is answered by a recording that tells you if you have gotten a notice from NCO, a collection agency, to press a certain number. If they are a reputable business, why do they have to send so many accounts to a collection agency?
Also Investigative journalist, Kelli Jack, has written 30 articles about this company and has a suit pending against them. Kelli alleges that 1and1 stole her domain name and sold it. Kelli states: "1and1 should be shut down."

And finally, the Washington DC, Pennsylvania Better Business Bureau has them listed as "Unsatisfactory" Read comments on the BBB why. Read some customer comments on Red Flag.

Anonymous said...

I'm a plus sized model and just got a request from nylamodelz saying that they had three shoots for me with Rocafella Records, each paying $1300. They need two more photos for my portfolio and referred me to They said they would pay half. Both companies have the same whois: Clifton Roberts - different contact info but both in Northern California (not near LA). Thank you for the heads-up.

Anonymous said...

I did the same mistake im a plus size model and received the same email saying they will pay $1,300 der session,im staying away from this thank you veru much for the advice

Anonymous said...

I agreed to do a TFCD for They sent the model who was new. But the model indicated she paid for the photography. She later emailed me the bill which she paid half for Fashion Photos. She is also plus size, she also was told about some Rocafella Records deal.

I feel really bad as the model was a really nice deal. I also hate that I feel like I'm part of some dirty scam. Though I didn't put it all together until she sent the bill.

I'm done doing TFCD for models from Craigslist. Only models I contact and only on my terms.

BTW: A lot of these domain names are only a few weeks old. I believe they are just going to keep shuffling names. Near impossible to stop.

Anonymous said...

I have some helpful info for you all who are wondering about this company.

stephanie elizabeth said...

go ahead and share then, not sure why you didn't in your original comment

Anonymous said...

I would like to share what I learned "the hard way" about this clifton roberts which I found out about his scams. what would be a great way to contact you anonymously? Taking money is something he needs to stop.

stephanie elizabeth said...

well you're posting anonymously here. You can't track IP addresses in comments through blogspot, so all it says is that you are an anonymous person. I'm sure everyone else wants to know what you have to say as well, so you may as well share here where everyone can read it.

Anonymous said...

I would like to share what i have to say about how this person scammed me as well...I wish not to put in a blog. if interested let me know how I can contact

stephanie elizabeth said...

sorry, I'm not giving out my email. I get enough spam as it is.

Anonymous said...

he also tries to do this site as well....scam artist

Shannon Hudnell said...

I'm glad I found your blog about this scam. There are so many scams out there that really screw people over. I started this blog about crimes against models to help those in the industry become more aware of what they may come across.

I would also like to add a link to your blog on mine. This is the first time I have heard of a scam like this one, and I think it's important to get the word out about it.